By Max Bowen
The Fuel For the Weekend program, a strong source of food for needy families at the Community School, is growing to help others.
Sarah Stone, who launched the program with then-Community School Principal Sarah McCracken in early January, said the expansion was decided after a review of the district’s needs. Stone determined the feasibility and found it would be possible with the community’s support. The Fuel for the Weekend program will begin at the Falls Elementary School next week, with plans to continue to expand to the other schools in the next couple of years.
“I started to really consider it over the summer,” said Stone. “I worked with the lead principals for all of the elementary schools. We looked at the economic issues, and Falls was in greatest need.”
In the past, the program gave out bags of food to students every Friday, supported by the Community Comets Food Pantry. This year to better ensure student confidentiality, program members were offered a pick up time at the schools or at an alternative pick up location rather than sending food home with students.
The Community School will remain the hub for the program. The food will remain inside the pantry room and bags will continue to be packed at the school on Thursdays. Then on Fridays, volunteers will pick up the bins with the bags in them and disseminate them at the schools.
“It’s not so much of a stigma at Community, but it could be a problem at the other schools,” said Stone.
Families can sign up for the Fuel for the Weekend program at any point during the school year and begin to receive weekend bags on Fridays. The pantry—set up in a former art room—receives donations and support weekly from local churches, food drives, Freihofers Bakery, and the North Attleboro Community Gardens.
Many businesses and organizations have also contributed to the pantry, including Stop & Shop, Altitude Trampoline Park, the Hockomock YMCA and Lenore’s Panty. The Roosevelt Avenue School Parent Teacher Group recently held a week-long food drive to support the program, bringing in a considerable amount of food
The program will begin at Falls School the week of Oct. 28. Falls School Principal Lee Ann Todd said collections are being arranged, and that a standing one held before Thanksgiving will benefit Fuel for the Weekend. Moving forward, this will be known as the Fuel for the Weekend Pantry & Program.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Todd. “Anything we can do to support students in and out of the classroom is wonderful.”
The Community Comets Food Pantry runs a Facebook page with a link to an Amazon wish list that people can order food from. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit facebook.com/communitycometsfoodpantry. The wish list can be found at http://a.co/8Ee12jx